I believe the original name of the tournament was to be the 4 Nations Cup, but things did change with the tournament recently. Originally set to be a four country tournament in Tyumen, it had to be moved closer to Moscow and Podolsk was chosen in early April. Still a four team tournament, each team will play three games in an IIHF round robin format where games are worth three points. The team finishing with the most points will become the winner of the tournament; although I haven't been able to figure out a tie breaker just yet.
Canada's first opponent will be the Unified MHL Team, or the equivalent of an All Star team from Russia's Minor Hockey League. The MHL is a major junior league that consists of 29 teams with players between the ages of 17 and 21. Some of these teams are subsidiaries or feeder teams for their respective Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) professional counterparts.
|Photo courtesy MHL.KHL.RU|
"Today's game was a very hard fight, sorry that I lost, but for us it would be a good lesson," said Kristers Gudlevskis, the goaltender and best player for the Unified MHL team in the 4-2 loss to Poland. "(It's) nice to get the best player award, but for me the most important is the victory of the team rather than personal reward. We have gained useful experience before an important game against Team Canada in Moscow."
The boys from the BCHL Team Canada squad will play Slovakia on the final day of the three day - three game round robin tournament. The Slovakian team has put out a 22 man roster comprised predominately of 1992 born players. In a tune-up game, the U18 team shutout the Slovensko U20 team 3-0.
Round-Robin Tournament Schedule
April 15, 2011
15:00 (4:00am PDT) Unified MHL Team - Canada
18:30 (7:30am PDT) Russia - Slovakia
April 16, 2011
15:00 (4:00am PDT) Slovakia - Unified MHL Team
18:30 (7:30am PDT) Russia - Canada
April 17, 2011
13:00 (2:00am PDT) Canada - Slovakia
16:00 (5:00am PDT) Russia - Unified MHL Team